People can’t seem to stop talking about Cleveland Browns rookie QB Johnny Manziel. Heck, even the bookies have him as a 15/2 favorite to win the 2014 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award which brings up two questions;
1). Have these people ever seen the Browns?
2). Shouldn’t Manziel have to play in order to win an award like that?
The Browns offense has been horrible this preseason so I guess the simple answer to question number one would be these bettors must not have watched the Browns play this preseason. Then again money moves the line and with Manziel being the biggest name and most hyped of this rookie class these odds are to be expected. I wouldn’t be surprised if the odds become even higher before the start of the NFL regular season. It’s just the way sports betting works.
Back to question number one. I really don’t like to make harsh judgments or predictions based on a couple of preseason games but Manziel hasn’t exactly set the world on fire this preseason. His 78.8 rating is okay for a rookie but numbers like 24-for-42 for 213 yards and only one touchdown doesn’t exactly give me that warm and tingly feeling that we are about to witness greatness. Sorry Johnny Football.
Rushing wise Manziel has done pretty well and I suppose that’s part of the package, right? 8-for-32 on the ground are pretty good numbers to see and in this regard Manziel actually does look like a Rookie of the Year candidate. If and when he does play he’ll need to put up these types of rushing numbers every game in order to be considered for the award.
The second question is probably not that easy to answer. Of course Manziel is going to play at some point — the big question is when and for how long. Last week head coach Mike Pettine named Brian Hoyer the starter and stated that he wouldn’t be using any special “packages” including Manziel in the opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Later he claimed in the same article that it was “on the table” in the future. One minute it’s “Brian’s job” and the next a special platoon like package “is on the table”. Don’t you just love it when a head coach vacillates?
At the end of the day Brian Hoyer is the starter, Manziel is riding the pine and how much Johnny Football plays is really up to Hoyer. If Hoyer plays anywhere close to what he did last season then Manziel is going to be riding the pine for most of the season. If Hoyer lays an egg early I don’t think Pettine will have much of a choice and will have to play Manziel. From all I’ve seen of both Manziel and the Browns, I don’t think an Offensive Rookie of the Year award is in the cards for Johnny Football. Sorry Johnny.
While we are on the Browns and Offensive Rookie of the Year there is a Brown I do like and that’s Terrance West. The bookies currently have him at 40-1 to win the award and he might wind up being a better bet and win you more money. Like Manziel, West probably won’t start but unlike Johnny Football, West is going to get his share of downs in an offense that knows it must run the ball in order to win. This preseason West has rushed 25 times for 70 yards and has one reception for eight yards. Neither is earth shattering and doesn’t lead the team but at least he’s getting a chance to play every game where anything can happen.
So, who do I like for Offensive Rookie of the Year? I suppose if I were a betting man I would take the Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins. That’s providing of course he can stay healthy. Currently he’s nursing some bruised ribs that have kept him out of all but the first preseason game that saw him make three catches for 21 yards. If Watkins can stay healthy I think he and QB E.J. Manuel are going to be some kind of tandem when it’s all said and done.
Who do you like on this list or is there a rookie not on the list that you like instead? Please use the comments section and let us know!